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#2041206 - 03/01/13 07:07 AM Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
New composition. The middle section has a similar feel to the middle section of my D-flat composition, but it came to me so suddenly I just had to write it down. I felt it was essential. This being said I do feel it has a little more color, being slightly more melodic. I also feel that the sudden key change gives a nice effect, and I needed to do so to get back to A-flat.

In case anyone is wondering why I'm only composing miniatures, it's because I'm trying to practice form. If anyone has any tips on how to maximize good form I would love to hear.

I hope you enjoy.

https://soundcloud.com/joelw-2/miniature

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#2041519 - 03/01/13 05:32 PM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1041
Some very effective compositions, Joel! They're inventive, disarming, up-tempo, with smooth harmonic progressions -- can't quite decide whether they're classical or popular (not intended as a criticism; just wondering out loud). They work for me -- and thanks for sharing these!

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#2041554 - 03/01/13 06:34 PM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Thanks Tim. Well, they aren't 'classical', but they diffidently are not in the 'popular' genre either. All of my compositional influences are 19th and 20th century composers so it's whatever. Let's just call them contemporary. smile

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#2041561 - 03/01/13 06:55 PM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
I had to change some things around.

New link:

https://soundcloud.com/joelw-2/miniature-no-3-in-a-flat-major

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#2041682 - 03/02/13 02:18 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Michael Sayers Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 984
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Hi Joel,

You are very talented and should keep on the compositional path. Eventually you will work everything out to your satisfaction re. composing in larger forms/associations of ideas.

Please keep posting updates on your work here when these become available.


Mvh,
Michael

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#2042163 - 03/03/13 04:53 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: Michael Sayers]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
Hi Joel,

You are very talented and should keep on the compositional path. Eventually you will work everything out to your satisfaction re. composing in larger forms/associations of ideas.

Please keep posting updates on your work here when these become available.


Mvh,
Michael


Thanks, Michael. How do I start learning how to write larger pieces? Do I just have to learn by doing?

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#2042248 - 03/03/13 10:11 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2722
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
Hi Joel,

You are very talented and should keep on the compositional path. Eventually you will work everything out to your satisfaction re. composing in larger forms/associations of ideas.

Please keep posting updates on your work here when these become available.



Thanks, Michael. How do I start learning how to write larger pieces? Do I just have to learn by doing?

Your piece has two very recognizable ideas, but they're short ideas. So perhaps if you try to lengthen your melodies you'll find writing longer pieces make sense. The challenge of writing longer melodies isn't as simple as extension of what's there, you have to find complementary melodic material that helps give your melodies dramatic shape. But to answer your question, yes, you learn by doing. You simply practice what you feel you're not good at.

Sadly, there's no one way to learn how to write longer pieces. Every piece is unique and presents its own challenge. Every piece I compose is a learning experience.

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#2042254 - 03/03/13 10:36 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Michael Sayers Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 984
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Hi Joel,

I'll need to give this some thought.

One possibility might be to compose a theme and variations which might be a good start with the practice of having a theme appear in highly contrasting guises as often happens in larger works (as with the Liszt sonata).

Maybe if one had two sets of variations, each one on a theme that feels like it emotionally completes or is associated with the other, then with the two sets of variations as a basis and maybe with some transposing one could assemble a large one-movement work.

To my ears you sound immensely talented and have a unique imprint as a composer so I think everything will eventually work itself out as a result of your effort however you choose to go about it!

I want to keep in touch so don't hesitate to reach out through normal email.


Mvh,
Michael

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#2042409 - 03/03/13 04:10 PM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Great advice from you both. Thank you very much.

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#2042669 - 03/04/13 03:31 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5240
Loc: Europe
Hi Joel,

Once more a very nice little gem! With your two themes!

Personally I think you've exhausted everything there is to do with these two themes so it's more than fine that you're finished.

Now, on your question about longer forms, etc, it's exactly that: FORMS!

If you check some of my works, they tend to also be a bit small, but I certainly can work on longer forms. It needs a bigger idea, and a very strict form to work on (at least this is how I work). The other thing that I should note about your miniature No.3 is that it's missing a little longer development. It's mostly your theme A, your theme B and then back to A with a small bridge in between. There's no way composers come up with new stuff for 10 minutes long. They use what they've got.

So in other words you need to start working on variations of what you're doing. On ideas, and reideas of the same things.

If I was your composition teacher I would have you doing variations to anything constantly. To get you out of the habit of coming up with new stuff all the time.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2042681 - 03/04/13 04:34 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Nikolas, thanks for your reply.

About "going back to A with small bridge in between", It actually doesn't even recap the entire A section-- only the second half of it. LOL! I'm not totally happy with it because of this and also because I feel like I 'empty my bag of tricks' from the get-go. But, as a drummer who's been playing for many years, I understand that with maturity comes modesty, and knowing when it's right to let out some sparkle. This latest work of mine, I'm afraid, bares little modesty. Oh well!



You all seemed to talk about variations. What comes to mind is Horowitz's Carmen variation and Mozart's 'Twinkle Little Star' variations. I know that's not what you guys really mean, but I'm having a bit of difficulty fully understanding how to go about doing it. Change what? When? How? These are the questions. Obviously you can't give me a specific answer because I'm the only one who can write my own music. Hmmm...

Time to experiment.


EDIT:

I forgot to mention... I am extremely intrigued by the way Debussy composed. Non-architecturally. Take "Reverie" for instance. It's one single flowing piece of music. No stops or extreme changes of character. No need to come back to an A section or something. Whenever I compose, I'm always thinking "ok... how am I gonna get back to that?" and it's always seems to limit me and make me think too much. I so desperately want to compose something like Reverie. Ahhhh...

It's been a bit of a ramble on my part.

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#2042948 - 03/04/13 04:56 PM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2722
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I completely understand the desire to compose a piece like Reverie, however, I doubt it's without architecture, it has a different architecture. Have you done a thorough analysis of the piece. It wouldn't surprise me (and I'm just talking off the top of my head) if there was deep architecture there, the beauty is that it doesn't SOUND like it. That's genius.

There are many examples of themes and variations. A quick search on Youtube will bring up many, but here's a suggestion listen to a few versions of Charles Ives Variations on America. It was a piece he wrote at the ripe age of 16. There's also Beethoven's Diabelli Variations and Bach's Goldberg Variations. The Bach deserves some discussion since it's not a set of melodic variations but variations on a harmonic progression. Rachmaninov's Variations on a theme of Paganini is also interesting. Basically my suggestion is to make the effort to study the form, there's plenty of free information available, and also listen to many examples. Heck, I've written a few sets and my variations on a jazzy theme, aka Spring Hop can be heard on the composers forum page in my sig.

Here's a lecture that includes discussion of theme and variations, also sonata allegro which was the subject of some animated discussion here recently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcjlm9Q29ec


Edited by Steve Chandler (03/04/13 04:56 PM)

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#2042956 - 03/04/13 05:06 PM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5240
Loc: Europe
Joel:

The idea on variations is that it forced you to use the SAME material on new grounds...

This is why it's rather difficult to do and is an exercise worth doing a lot... wink

In a variation you can change anything to do with the main theme:

1. Harmony
2. melody
3. Tonality
4. Mood
5. Rhythm
6. style
7. aesthetics


Edited by Nikolas (03/04/13 05:09 PM)
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2043202 - 03/05/13 04:58 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Michael Sayers Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 984
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Maybe in addition to Debussy's music a look at the structure of the works in Liszt's Annees de Pelerinage would be useful.

The ideas repeat but with significant variation and additions depending on where the music has been and where it heads next . . .

Mvh,
Michael

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#2043218 - 03/05/13 06:27 AM Re: Miniature no. 3 in A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5240
Loc: Europe
Here's a further thought...

Joel,

Take a notice at two of the most famous tunes ever written: The 40th symphony by Mozart and Beethoven's 5th symphony.

Just the melody. Check out the main patterns:

mozart: EbbDD (16th16th8th).
Beethoven GGGEb (8th8th8thwhatever(fermata))

If you take Mozarts case he's using the SAME motif/pattern in his melody some 20 times (!!!). In 16 bars! Rhythmically speaking, not melodically, although the melody is almost there with seconds.

Same goes for Beethovens 5th.

This kind of structure in their melody could just came in their head without the analysis I just provided, but it's there and I think it's part of what makes these melodies SO successful: The repetition of a similar pattern 20 times in less than 60 secs!

It's not a direct variation or what we're talking about. But if Mozart and Beethoven could take a simple pattern of 3-4 notes and turn it into a melody, they then turned that into symphonies. And the creative brick is still 3-4 notes! Think about it!

I mean Beethoven (for me, as a personal opinion, please) is not an amazing melodist (like Verdi or Rossini were for example). Some of his best known works are less creative than what one would've thought. The first movement of the Appassionata sonata? An Fm arpegge with a trill in the dominant... Yet it's enough to create such a stunning and amazing masterpiece!

______________________

In other words, and here's an idea: Pick a pattern, not a melody. Pick a small riff, and see if you can turn that into a melody. Try then different styles, different ideas, different chord progressions to carry on the same pattern.

Don't venture too far... Just that pattern.

Then find a 'reply' to that pattern. And you've got enough material for a piano concerto! wink

______________________

Everyone: Forgive the over simplifications of this post. It's just an effort to throw joel into some pondering prior to composing, that's all! wink
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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